Missing soldier is dead not kidnapped: Israel

Ahram Online, Friday 25 Jul 2014

Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers check their weapons after ending their duty inside the Gaza Strip, on the Israeli side of the border July 25, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli military confirmed on Friday that Shaul Oron, a soldier who Hamas had earlier claimed to have kidnapped, was killed in Gaza.

"We can confirm that Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, was one of 7 soldiers killed in the explosion of an APC on July 20 in Gaza," the Israeli army said on its official Twitter account on Friday.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, claimed that it had captured Oron on 20 July.

The Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, now entering its 17th day, has seen over 700 Palestinians killed.

"The Israeli soldier Shaul Oron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades," a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida had said in a televised address. At that time, the Israeli army said it was aware of the claim and were investigating.

However, one day later, Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor denied that Oron had been abducted. "There is no kidnapped Israeli soldier and those rumours are untrue," he said.

A spokeswoman said Israeli pathologists had identified 12 out of 13 soldiers killed in Gaza over the weekend of 19/20 July but that Oron’s body was still unaccounted for, AFP reported.

The Israeli army claims that Hamas was likely to be holding the soldier's remains, although it was not clear if the soldier’s entire body was missing.

Oron was part of a group of seven troops from the elite Golani unit who died in an attack on an armoured vehicle.

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